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Archive for August 8th, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

If the Yankees were hoping to deliver a message to the Red Sox this past weekend, it didn’t reach the intended destination. In fact, it was returned to sender. Not only did Boston win another series, but the team beat CC Sabathia for the fourth time and then, for good measure, added a blown save to Mariano Rivera’s record. Message received…loud and clear.

The 1983 NLCS looked like a mismatch in favor of the Dodgers, but the Phillies won despite going 1-11 against Los Angeles during the regular season.

For the second time in the last three years, the Yankees started off the season series against the Red Sox by losing eight of the first nine. Unlike 2009, however, the Yankees won’t be able to turn the tables and tie the series. With a 10-2 record (.833 winning percentage) over the first 12 games, Boston has already clinched victory in its private war with the Yankees, so, from a rivalry standpoint, the remaining six games will simply determine the level of the Red Sox’ head-to-head dominance.

Despite performing so poorly against their chief rival, the Yankees are still in good position to win the division. However, with both teams well ahead in the wild card race, the urgency to claim first place could be greatly diminished. Although that fallback position mitigates concern about the Yankees’ inability to beat Boston, should the two teams meet again in October, the Bronx Bombers will be in the unfamiliar position of being a decided underdog.

When the postseason begins, the old cliché says you can throw the regular season out the window, especially regarding head-to-head performance. But, should that advice apply to the level of dominance that the Red Sox have exhibited over the Yankees in 2011?

Regular Season Head-to-Head Records by Playoff Series Winning Teams, Since 1969

W L PCT
American League 415 367 0.531
National League 366 359 0.505
Total 781 726 0.518

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Since the advent of division play in 1969, there have been 150 intra-league playoff series. In those post season matchups, the combined regular season record of the winning team against the losing team is .518 (.531 in the American League and .505 in the National League), which suggests that head-to-head regular season play might have at least a small amount of predictive value, particularly in the junior circuit.

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